CDRSEE, represented by our Executive Director Ms Zvezdana Kovac was among the invitees of this year’s Symi Symposium that marked the 20th anniversary of the initiative.
Ms. Kovac took part in the panel ‘Disproving history: a new vision for the Balkans’ that discussed the challenges of regional integration alongside Marinella Koppa, Assistant Professor at the Department of International, European and Area Studies of Panteion University, Albin Kurti, Member of the Parliament of Kosovo*, and Ivan Vejvoda, IWM Senior Permanent Fellow. Zlatko Lagumdzija, former Prime Minister of Bosnia & Herzegovina was moderating the session.
Ms. Kovac made an insightful intervention on the fundamental role of education in reconciliation in the Western Balkans, which could serve as a stepping stone in the path towards EU integration. "The recent example of reconciliation between Greece and the FYR of Macedonia showed that there is potential in the Balkans, but this also showed how important the role of the international community is. The EU needs to understand that a stable Balkans is in the wider global public interest regardless of whether or not there is an obvious immediate benefit. Let us invest long term in a stable Balkans; a Balkans with strong democratic institutions and strong civil society and through this, a more stable Europe. Let us join our efforts in helping the Balkans to establish good inter-ethnic relations as a basis for peace and prosperity" she concluded.
Held in Rhodes from 1 to 6 July 2018, this annual gathering brought together leading intellectuals, politicians, entrepreneurs, diplomats, scientists and activists to discuss, in a unique informal setting, how globalization affects and shapes the ‘agenda’ for the next twenty years. Among the topics debated in the 2018 Symi Symposium were the management of population movements, the promotion of dialogue between civilizations, the rise of populism and authoritarianism and the reinvention of a progressive Europe.